Excessive production of airway mucus is a cardinal feature of bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and contributes to morbidity and mortality in these diseases. IL-13, a Th2-type cytokine, is a central mediator in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma, including mucus overproduction. Using a genome-wide search for genes induced in airway epithelial cells in response to IL-13, we identified pendrin encoded by the SLC26A4 (PDS) gene as a molecule responsible for airway mucus production. In both asthma and COPD mouse models, pendrin was up-regulated at the apical side of airway epithelial cells in association with mucus overproduction. Pendrin induced expression of MUC5AC, a major product of mucus in asthma and COPD, in airway epithelial cells. Finally, the enforced expression of pendrin in airway epithelial cells in vivo, using a Sendai virus vector, rapidly induced mucus overproduction in the lumens of the lungs together with neutrophilic infiltration in mice. These findings collectively suggest that pendrin can induce mucus production in airway epithelial cells and may be a therapeutic target candidate for bronchial asthma and COPD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy